November 4, 2014
From the Inkwell of: Bartholomew J. Worthington III
The journey from being an employee to becoming a business owner is not for the faint of heart. While hundreds of thousands of people strike out on their own every year, many of these aspiring entrepreneurs will find themselves struggling to overcome various challenges.
One of the most difficult challenges faced by many who dare to set out on this path is finding the resources that they need to plan, organize and launch their business. To that end, we present 25 resources that can help an aspiring entrepreneur get up and running.
1 - 55 Business Ideas
It seems somewhat intuitive that it will be pretty difficult to start a business without an idea. If you have the desire to become an entrepreneur but don't have any viable business ideas, Entrepreneur magazine has a great resource that suggests 55 businesses, of varying degrees of difficulty, that you can consider.
2 - Business USA
An initiative formed by the Obama administration that aims to serve as a centralized, one-stop resource that will make it easier for businesses to access the services that will enable them to grow and hire.
3 - Freelancers Union
At a time when 1 in every 3 workers is an independent worker, the need for support and resources has never been greater. Get the tools and support you need to launch a successful freelance career.
4 - Minority Business Development Agency
The MBDA is a resource of the US Department of Commerce that provides Tools and Education to help minority business owners grow their businesses.
5 - SCORE
Supported by the Small Business Association, SCORE is a non-profit organization that provides education and mentorship to individuals looking to start their own business. Find a local chapter where you can get one-on-one counseling here.
6 - Small Business Administration
The SBA is a resource center for tools to help you start, build and grow a business. The SBA provides loans, loan guarantees, contracts, counseling and other assistance to small business owners.
7 - Startup Nation
A resource for business owners looking to start or grow a business.
8 - Black Start Up
A crowdfunding platform for people launching projects and ideas that will benefit the Black community.
9 - IRS: Apply For A Employer ID Number
One of the first steps in setting up your business is applying for an Employer Identification Number. The process can be completed online in about 15 minutes.
10 - SunBiz
Once you have your Employer Identification Number, you will need to register your business with your state. Each state has its own office for registering a business. Here in Florida, it is found online at SunBiz.org.
When you get ready to start your business, one of the first steps is to ensure that your business name can be found online. 1and1 is one of the world's leading Domain Name and Web Hosting companies. Check to see if your domain name is available here.
12 - Weebly
There are many WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) website creation tools available. After experimenting with several options, I have made my business home at Weebly. Powerful tools enable anyone to design and launch clean, easy to navigate sites.
13 - 99 Designs
A graphic design market place where designers bid for your project. You submit a brief of your project, designers submit competing designs, you pick the one that best suits your needs. Simple.
14 - Submitter Bot
So you've started your business. You have your site up and running. Now you have to get found. Submitterbot submits your site information to hundreds of directories and search engines. Remember, if your target audience can't find you, you don't exist.
15 - ClockingIt
One of the biggest challenges for aspiring entrepreneurs is time management. While Clocking It won't solve ALL your issues, it does help you keep track of where your time goes. For aspiring entrepreneurs this is an invaluable resource.
16 - Prezi
Create dynamic presentations with Prezi, the digital whiteboard. Engage your audience in a whole new way.
17 - Disqus
More and more, web traffic is driven by content and conversations. Disqus is a free resource that allows you to turn your content into a conversation.
18 - Share This
As social media increasingly drives website traffic, it is necessary to ensure that your content can be found AND shared across different platforms. Share This provides customizable widgets for accomplishing just that.
19 - SumAll
Revenue is driven by sales. Sales are driven by traffic. Traffic is driven by marketing efforts. Data drives effective marketing and branding campaigns. Measure your metrics, improve your results. Sum All is a social media analytics tool that measures your impact across multiple platforms.
20 - Sumo Me
Sumo Me provides several apps that you can plug into your site to help grow your web traffic. Helpful apps include an Image Sharer, a List Builder and a Contact Form. Best of all, Sumo Me is FREE.
21 - WuFoo
Wufoo is a web based application that allows you to create online forms. Wufoo also builds the database, backend and scripts necessary to help you collect and analyze your data.
22 - Blog Talk Radio
The world's largest social radio network. Host a live radio show with a phone and a computer, then distribute as a podcast. Expand your audience and build your brand.
23 - Google AdSense
A free, simple resource for monetizing your website. AdSense displays targeted ads next to your online content. With AdSense, you can show relevant and engaging ads to your site visitors and even customize the look and feel of ads to match your website.
24 - Commission Junction
An affiliate program is where a company will pay you a commission for customers that you bring them who take a particular action. Commission Junction is one of the world's largest affiliate programs, representing some of the most recognizable brands.
25 - Shopify
An online resource for retailers who want to get online, but really don't want the hassle of setting up a complicated e-commerce site. Shopify provides a simple, inexpensive integrated platform for online commerce.
Bonus Resource - BBNomics
Your business will need financial resources. Using the collective power of individuals to bypass the conventional system of banking to obtain financing for small business ventures, crowd funding has evolved into a legitimate resource for many startup entrepreneurs. BBNomics is an all Black crowdfunding site, focused on supporting our ventures.
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